easterspirit
Theosis
- partaking of the divine nature
Home -- Practices -- Theosis
   

Human beings partaking of the divine nature:

Extracts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church*


460 The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":78 "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81

78 2 Pt 1:4.
79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.

1721 God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to come to paradise. Beatitude makes us "partakers of the divine nature" and of eternal life. 21 With beatitude, man enters into the glory of Christ 22 and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.

21 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Jn 17:3.
22 Cf. Rom 8:18.

1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor , the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. 46

46 Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.

1692 The Symbol of the faith confesses the greatness of God's gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become "children of God," 2 "partakers of the divine nature." 3 Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life "worthy of the gospel of Christ." 4 They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer.

2 Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:1.
3 2 Pet 1:4.
4 Phil 1:27.

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. 205 For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become "children of God" we must be "born from above" or "born of God". 206 Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. 207 Christmas is the mystery of this "marvelous exchange":

O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity. 208

205 Cf. Mt 18:3-4.
206 Jn 3 7; 1:13; 1:12; cf. Mt 23:12.
207 Cf. Gal 4:19.
208 LH , Antiphon I of Evening Prayer for January 1st.

(*) The CCC is at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm


Theosis in the Christian tradition

God became man, so that man might become God. —Early Christian Proverb

For the Son of God became man, that we might become God. —St. Athanasius, De inc.

"the Word became flesh and the Son of God became the Son of Man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God" —St. Irenaeus, Adv Haer III 19,1

Souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God. —St. Basil the Great, On the Spirit.

(God) said that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him-for we can prevent Him if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. —C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 174-5

Let us applaud and give thanks that we have become not only Christians but Christ himself. Do you understand, my brothers, the grace that God our head has given us? Be filled with wonder and joy—we have become veritable Christs! —St. Augustine of Hippo

The center of the soul is God. —St. John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love

let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods     —St. Maximus the Confessor

Christ has no hands but yours. —St. Teresa of Ávila

Let us applaud and give thanks that we have become not only Christians but Christ himself. Do you understand, my brothers, the grace that God our head has given us? Be filled with wonder and joy—we have become veritable Christs! —St. Augustine of Hippo

The Only-begotten Son of God, wanting us to be partakers of his divinity, assumed our human nature so that, having become man, he might make men gods. —St. Thomas Aquinas

Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We are to be remade. . . . we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy. —C. S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle, p. 85.

Souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God. —St. Basil the Great, On the Spirit.

"the highest of all things desired is to become God." —St Basil the Great

Scripture passages on theosis

My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is. —St. John, I John 3:2

Jesus answered: Is it not written in your Law : I said, you are gods? So the Law uses the word gods of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected. —Jesus, John 10:34-35

And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all. —St. Paul, I Cor . 15:28

Now you together are Christ's body; but each of you is a different part of it. —St. Paul, I Cor .12.27

But to all who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to all who believe in the name of him who was born not out of human stock or urge of the flesh or will of man but of God himself. — John , 1:12-13

You should pray like this: Our Father . . . —Jesus, Matt. 6:9

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. — Genesis 1:27

. . . the Spirit and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory." —St. Paul, Rom. 8:15-17

The Bride is only for the Bridegroom. —John the Baptist, John 3:29

. . . the two will become one body. . . This mystery applies to Christ and the Church. — St. Paul, Eph . 5:31-32

They (those who love him) are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. —St. Paul Rom. 8:29

I am the vine, you are the branches. —Jesus, John 15:5a

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. —St. Paul, 2 Cor. 3:17-18

I am the light of the world. —Jesus, John 8:12 You are the light of the world. —Jesus, Matt . 5:14

...if God has made you son, then he has made you heir. —St. Paul, Gal. 4:7

The Kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is, ' because the kingdom of God is within you. —Jesus, Luke 17:20b-21, NIV

For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the Spirit like God. — I Peter 4:6 RSV

Know that I am with you always, yes, even to the end of time. —Jesus, Matt . 28:20

I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works. —Jesus, John 14:12

Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known. —St. Paul, I Cor. 13:12

You, therefore, must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. —Jesus, Matt. 5:48

The glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. —St. Paul, Col. 1:27

The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons... From the beginning until now, the entire creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. —St. Paul, Rom. 8:19, 22-23

May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me, and I am in you, so that the world may believe that it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory which you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me, and that I have loved them as much as you loved me. —Jesus, John 17:21-23

 

He has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God himself... through them you will be able to share the divine nature. — II Peter 1:3-4a

 

In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. —St. Paul, Ephesians 4:13

... when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day. — 2 Thess . 1:10a, KJV

"the highest of all things desired is to become God." —St Basil the Great

... the fully-trained disciple will always be like his teacher. —Jesus, Luke 6:40